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´Legitimation by Constitution´ is the phrase, coined by distinguished authors Frank Michelman and Alessandro Ferrara, for a key idea in Rawlsian political liberalism of a reliance on a dualist form of democracy-a subjection of ground-level lawmaking to the constraints of a higher-law constitution that most citizens could find acceptable as a framework for their politics-as a response to the problem of maintaining a liberally just, stable, and oppression-freedemocratic government in conditions of pluralist visionary conflict. Legitimation by Constitution recalls, collects, and combines a series of exchanges over the years between Michelman and Ferrara, inspired by Rawls´ encapsulation of this conception in his proposed liberal principle of legitimacy. From a shared standpoint of sympathetic identification with the political-liberal statement of the problem, for which legitimation by constitution is proposed as a solution, these exchanges consider the perceived difficulties arguably standing in the way ofthis proposal´s fulfillment on terms consistent with political liberalism´s defining ideas about political justification.
The authors discuss the mysteries of a democratic constituent power; the tensions between government-by-the-people and government-by-consent; the challenges posed to concretization byjudicial authorities of national constitutional law; and the magnification of these tensions and challenges under the lenses of ambition towards transnational legal ordering. These discussions engage with other leading contemporary theorists of liberal-democratic constitutionalism including Bruce Ackerman, Ronald Dworkin, and Jurgen Habermas.